Although this describes an issue related to community engagement and service delivery, rather than research, it offers a succinct example of the communication problems which emerge when different parties to a discussion are using different terminology. This is an issue in all cross-boundary communication and needs to be taken into account not simply during the process of engagement itself but in the subsequent documentation and classification of the event.
This paper extends pre-existing digital divide conceptualizations to further investigate the important issue of mismatches between the ontologies of state-created information systems and local communities' representation of their contexts. Comparability of data across time and place, as well as compatibility of data with state administrative needs come at a cost of information loss about the setting and individuals that policymakers are trying to impact. We argue that the reconciliation of community and state logics and framings is critical for effective engagement with communities as well as formulation and implementation of development policies. We suggest several paths toward overcoming mismatched ontologies: education and communications strategies to enable communities and states to translate across ontologies and fill in significant gaps; re-assignment of policy responsibilities to minimize information loss; and several mechanisms that would enable communities to be directly and productively engaged in developing shared ontologies.